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Social Darwinism

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Fizza Rizvi

on 7 April 2011

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Transcript of Social Darwinism

S O C I A L D A R W I N I S M Social Darwinism is the theory that people, societies, and races are prone to inevitably follow the laws of natural selection as proposed by Charles Darwin in his book The Origin of Species. Darwin’s theory of evolution introduced the concept of natural selection among animals. The ambiguous nature of the theory however, resulted in various political and sociological interpretations, such as social Darwinism. According to this theory, the weak were diminished and their cultures constrained while the strong grew in fortitude and in cultural ascendency over the weak. Social Darwinists believed in ‘survival of the fittest,’ a phrase proposed by Herbert Spencer to explain the trend in the life of humans in society.
The idea of social Darwinism was suggested by Englishmen, Herbert Spencer and Walter Bagehot, and American, William Graham Sumner. These Social Darwinists emphasized the continuing improvement in the population since the effect of natural selection on differences in the population would result in prolonged existence of the best competitor. Communities, like individuals, were perceived as organisms, which evolve similarly.
Social Darwinism was used to justify laissez-faire capitalism (prevention of government interference in the market) and political conservatism. The division of society according to rank, class, or caste was reasoned on the basis of ‘natural’ inequalities among humans and therefore the control of property corresponded with higher intellectual and moral attributes. State intervention in social reforms defied ‘natural processes’ and therefore was curtailed. Social Darwinism was used as a philosophical pretext to justify imperialist, colonialist, and racist beliefs, and promoted the biological dominance of the Anglo-Saxon race. Brief History The Main Countries Timeline 1851: Herbert Spencer published his book, Social Statics, eight years prior to Darwin’s most famous works. He also asserted that anyone who attempted to change how society developed was going against the way things were naturally supposed to be.

1859: Darwin published his book, On the Origin of Species. Afterwards, social scientists in England and the U.S., like Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner started “Social Darwinism” by applying natural selection to their societies. Their theory emphasized the belief that some people were better fit for success than others.

1882: A dinner was given in New York City specifically for Spencer to close an American speaking tour. He used this opportunity to promote his new theory, social Darwinism.

1883: William Graham Sumner, a Yale Sociologist, wrote “What the Social Classes Owe Each Other” in agreement with the theory of Social Darwinism.

1884: The Berlin Conference was held among the authorities of Western Europe to decide the division of Africa. Social Darwinism was used to justify that this was ethical.

1904: Sir Francis Galton founded the Eugenics Movement in England; this concept promoted the idea that intelligence was an inherited trait.

1914: Germany liked the idea of social Darwinism and aspired to become the foremost economic and political power in Europe. To achieve this, the country was willing to go to war; the first of the two world wars began this year. Example: African Imperialism Areas of Influence [1700-1914] Areas of Influence Today
[With Demographics] United States Population: 308, 745, 538
GDP: 14.26 trillion
Capital city: Washington D.C.
Head of state: President
Type of Government: Democracy
Economy: Mixed-Market Japan
Population: 127, 560, 000
GDP: 5.07 trillion
Capital City: Tokyo
Head of State: Prime Minister
Type of Government: Parliamentary Government with a Constitutional Monarchy
Economy: Capitalist/Market France Population: 63,136,180
GDP: 2.16 trillion
Capital City: Paris
Head of State: President
Type of Government: Republic
Economy: Market China Population: 1, 334, 516, 184
GDP: 5, 745, 000 million
Capital City: Beijing
Head of State: President
Type of Government: Republic
Economy: Market England Population:61, 838, 154
GDP: 2.17 trillion
Capital City: London
Head of State: Prime Minister
Type of Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Economy: Free Market Israel Population: 7.7 million
GDP: 194.79 billion
Head of State: President
Type of Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Economy: Diversified Market Germany Population: 6, 897, 500, 000
GDP: 3.35 trillion
Capital: Berlin
Head of State: President
Type of Government: Parliament
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"social Darwinism." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/551058/social-Darwinism>.

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Roles & Responsibilities Group Leader: Fizza Rizvi
Producer/Script Writer: Taliah Muhammad
Researcher: Mikayla Pugh
Technology Coordinator: Adriana Rubio http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obv5vBC4BfQ
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